Prof Bill Amos of the Department of Zoology has been keeping a photo diary of the lockdown, taking a picture of an insect every day. We shared the first set of photos with you last week. Scroll down and see how amazing our insects look close to with his latest batch of photos and captions. And why not try photographing an insect a day? Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by tagging us or using #OpenYourWindowBingo to see your pictures on our Community Gallery!
A tiny little metallic flea beetle. This one is only about one millimetre long. Note its powerful back legs bunched underneath, poised and ready to spring if danger approaches. A bee fly. These strange insects are extremely common this year. They are flies not bees, even though they do a good job of pretending, and have a characteristic long, straight proboscis. The orange tip butterfly, one of my favourites. The females have no orange but instead smaller, dark grey wing-tips. This male is sitting on its food plant, hedge garlic, where the females will lay their eggs. Once you know what you are looking for, finding orange tip eggs is quite easy. I saw a female butterfly sitting on this flower and, although I failed to get a photo of her, I did find the egg she had just laid. They are tiny, but easy to see because they are such a bright shade of orange. A crane fly or daddy long legs. All flies have just one pair of wings. The second pair has evolved to become a balance organ to help it fly, see as little structures resembling a ball on a stick. These ‘halteres’ are particularly visible in crane flies, look in the space between the wing and the back leg. A cardinal beetle. Their intense red / red-brown colour makes them easy to spot. This one has managed to get itself stuck in a large water droplet after the recent rain. I thought it had drowned but no, when I touched it it moved. We were both very cold! A queen wasp. There are lots of insects that are yellow and black, so pretending to be a wasp. This is the real thing. Wasps’ nest are made of saliva and chewed up wood. This one is collecting her raw materials. One of my favourite hoverflies, Heliophilus pendulus, the sun lover! This one is easily recognisable because of the way the yellow and black bands go along the thorax but across the abdomen. A colony of aphids on a rose. During the summer, all the individuals are female and they give birth to live young who already have their offspring developing when they are born! As adults they develop wings. Instead of producing armour or a nasty taste, aphids try to win the game of life by reproducing faster than their enemies. And they have a lot of enemies. The insect with beaded antennae at the top to the right is a tiny parasitic wasp that will lay each of her eggs inside an aphid where the larvae will hatch and eat it from inside! Here is an aphid that met one of its worst enemies, a parasitic wasp. Inside, the wasp larvae grew up, eating more and more until all that was left was a transparent shell, inside which you can see that the wasp has pupated. Soon it will hatch into an adult wasp. The common dung fly, Scatophaga stercoraria. The adults perform courting rituals centred on cow pats, which their larvae then perform the vital service of eating! As adult flies they are carnivorous, eating other flies. The alder fly. This is one of many species whose larvae live in water, along with may flies and caddis flies. None of them are true flies, but they are common near streams and lakes. Alder flies are particularly large and handsome. They have nothing to do with alders, though alders grow in wet places so this is where they are often seen sitting.
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